William Hazlitt

Quotations

No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.

Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners (1821-1822)

If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators.

Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners (1821-1822)

Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.

Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners (1821-1822)

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.

Lectures on the English Comic Writers (1819)

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

Political Essays (1819)

We are all of us more or less the slaves of opinion.

Political Essays (1819)

It is hard for any one to be an honest politician who is not born and bred a Dissenter.

Political Essays (1819)

The love of fame, as it enters at times into his mind, is only another name for the love of excellence; or it is the ambition to attain the highest excellence, sanctioned by the highest authority — that of time.

Lectures on the English Poets (1818)

Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.

Lectures on the English Poets (1818)

All that is worth remembering in life, is the poetry of it.

Lectures on the English Poets (1818)

Grace is the absence of every thing that indicates pain or difficulty, or hesitation or incongruity.

"On Beauty" The Round Table (1815-1817)

Grace has been defined the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.

"On Manner" The Round Table (1815-1817)

General principles are not the less true or important because, from their nature they elude immediate observation; they are like the air, which is not the less necessary because we neither see nor feel it, or like that secret influence which binds the world together and holds the planets in their orbits.

The Eloquence of the British Senate (1808)

Well, I’ve had a happy life.

Last words (1830-09-18), quoted by his grandson, William Carew Hazlitt, in Memoirs of William Hazlitt (1867)

Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.

"The Sick Chamber," The New Monthly Magazine (August 1830)

When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.

"On The Spirit of Controversy," The Atlas (1830-01-30)

The origin of all science is in the desire to know causes; and the origin of all false science and imposture is in the desire to accept false causes rather than none; or, which is the same thing, in the unwillingness to acknowledge our own ignorance.

Burke and the Edinburgh phrenologists. The Atlas (15 Feb 1829)

The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness, than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.

"American Literature — Dr. Channing," Edinburgh Review, (October 1829)

I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it roaring and raging like a wild beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free, and ending just where it began.

"Common Places," No. 60, The Literary Examiner (September - December 1823)

The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.

"Common Places," No. 1, The Literary Examiner (September - December 1823)

You know more of a road by having travelled it then by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.

"On The Conduct of Life" (1822)

Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the colour in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty, and your animal spirits, and you will pass for a fine man.

"On The Conduct of Life" (1822)

Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone — but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming.

"On The Conduct of Life" (1822)

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.

"Thoughts on Taste," Edinburgh Magazine, (October 1818)

Those who aim at faultless regularity will only produce mediocrity, and no one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.

"Thoughts on Taste", Edinburgh Magazine, July 1819